2020 Reading Review

books | personal | reviews | year in review

I was so thrilled to hit my goal of reading 15 books last year so I upped the number to 20 this time around. 20 books for 2020 has a nice ring to it, doesn’t it? I’m writing this post at the end of November and, as of this point, I’m at 18 out of 20 books for the year. I’m on track to hit my target but it might be a little close! But it’s time to get the 2020 reading review underway.

Here are the books I’ve read so far this year. As always, I track my reads through Goodreads and I’m not the best reviewer so I’ll keep this brief!

the signature of all things book cover

The Signature of All Things by Elizabeth Gilbert

I actually started reading this book at the end of 2019, but I finished it in 2020, so it counts towards this year’s target! It’s one that’s been on my radar for a while. I’m a huge Liz Gilbert fan and I’d yet to read any of her fiction so I was looking forward to picking this up. And I was not disappointed. This grand epic of a story was beautifully written and so full of description and detail. It was a real joy to read and a definite recommendation from me!

The Turning Point by Freya North

This book was recommended to me earlier this year, mostly because of the fact that it’s half set in BC. It was actually really nice to read about some of the places I’ve grown to be familiar with over the last year or so! The story itself is a simple love story but I did see the twist coming a way off. I remember not necessarily being 100% satisfied with how it turned out, but it was a pleasant read overall.

Three Women by Lisa Taddeo

I can’t remember where I heard about this book but I was certainly intrigued by its premise. The stories of three separate women, all true, and their sex lives. I went into it not sure what to expect and came away intrigued and bewildered all at the same time. I did find some of it hard to read in places. But not a bad read.

The Notebook by Nicholas Sparks

This is a book that’s been sitting on my to-read list for a very long time. Like many of the female population, I LOVED the movie. So I had high hopes for this book. But I was actually left feeling a little disappointed, which is an unusual experience for me. I finished it feeling kinda ‘meh’ about it really. And haven’t even been able to enjoy the film since!

The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde (reread)

I needed something easy, something enjoyable and something I knew I loved to read for a little bit. Especially with everything else going on this year. And Jasper Fforde never fails to disappoint. The Eyre Affair is the first in his Thursday Next series, and once you get past the weird oddities of real-life dodos and leaping in and out of books, it becomes a story you can really immerse yourself into. It’s as good this time around as it ever was, I’m pleased to say!

Girl in the Woods by Aspen Matis

I tackled finishing off this book at long last as it’s been languishing half-read on my list for some time now. Can I just say I really didn’t enjoy it that much? It felt way too much like a repeat of ‘Wild’ by Cheryl Strayed who, in my opinion, did it much better. Sorry, Aspen!

Girl, Wash Your Face by Rachel Hollis

This was another unfinished book from 2019 and I literally forced myself through the last part with grimaces and groans. So many people raved about this and, frankly, I just couldn’t see the appeal. Not for me!

Year of Yes by Shonda Rhimes

This had also been unfinished in 2019 but I actually found it easier to get back into in 2020 and it was actually quite enjoyable. Shonda Rhimes is a solid writer. Most of it is ok stuff but then, every now and again, she writes something that shines and that was worth sticking this book out for.

Educated by Tara Westover

Again, another to read that’s been waiting a while so I don’t remember where I heard about it. But what a book! What a story! Educated is a memoir and tells the story of Tara Westover’s childhood, growing up in rural Idaho to a family of survivalists with a huge distrust of anything government. But Tara sees there’s more out there and she decides to go and explore all for herself. A truly remarkable story and so well written. I highly recommend this.

We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

I actually bought this book for my sister many moons ago. And then promptly bought it for myself. It’s a short essay and a super quick read, but if you’ve heard Adichie speak in her TED Talk, you’ll be sure to enjoy her writing too. She writes so beautifully and this is well worth a read.

Salmon Fishing in the Yemen by Paul Torday

I felt like reading a real book for a bit (instead of a Kindle one!) so I grabbed this one off my shelf. It’s been quite a while since I saw the movie so I couldn’t really remember it all but I loved the story and I definitely didn’t see the massive twist coming, which I’m sure is different from the film anyway. It got a little tedious in a few places but otherwise, it was a pleasant story.

You are a Badass by Jen Sincero

This is one I’ve been meaning to read for a while and, again, I had high hopes for this. Thankfully I wasn’t disappointed! Jen Sincero writes with a gut punchy, no-nonsense style and I thoroughly enjoyed everything she had to say. So much so, I’m looking forward to reading her follow up, ‘You are a Badass About Money’!

Recursion by Blake Crouch

This was a recommendation from a lovely new friend and, for some reason, I decided to move it to the top of the list despite already having a ton of other books waiting in the wings. I’m actually quite pleased I did because it was one hell of a story that kept me turning the pages, never expecting what was coming next! Put it this way, if you’ve watched Inception and enjoyed it, you’ll love this book. Prepare for some serious mind-bending reading!

Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind by Yuval Noah Harari

I jumped on this book not expecting how interesting a read I would find it. I won’t lie, it wasn’t always easy. Yuval Noah Harari is a very intelligent man and I don’t know that I always understood what he was saying but I was fascinated by his ideas, thoughts and theories throughout this book. They made a lot of sense to a non-religious person like me. If you’d like a detailed and surprisingly interesting read about the history of humanity, then you absolutely MUST read this book. I’m excited to read his follow-ups to this too!

The Five: The Untold Lives of the Women Killed by Jack the Ripper by Hallie Rubenhold

I’ve always been fascinated by the story of Jack the Ripper. But until I picked up this book I hadn’t realised how little I knew about his victims. This book is all about them and their lives leading up to the point of their untimely ends and it speaks a lot about the patriarchal challenges these women faced that ultimately contributed to their deaths. Well worth a read to find out the story about the women murdered by Jack the Ripper.

Mother to Mother by Sindiwe Magona

This heartbreaking story, of a white woman killed by a black man in South Africa in the 90s, is told by the mother of the man and is written as a letter to the murdered woman’s mother. It doesn’t make excuses. It simply tells the story of why she thinks her son committed this horrible crime and I found my heart literally aching as I read it. A haunting but necessary read.

Inferno by Dan Brown

I needed something easy to read after the last few books I’d tackled and Dan Brown’s books are always easy page-turners. I had a sense of deja vu reading this as I’d seen the film a while back and the film has stayed pretty true to the book. But it was an easy read and didn’t fail to disappoint with its thriller-style story.

The Multi-Hyphen Method by Emma Gannon

As a freelancer, this book has been on my radar for a little while now and I found it really interesting! I like how Emma talks about this multi-hyphen lifestyle, not as a get out from the day job or a means of making more money, but as a way of living our lives differently now. Who says we have to only do one thing for our entire lives until we die? Lots of excellent advice and information. And a quick read.

Currently reading: WomanCode by Alisa Vitti

As a PCOS sufferer for many years, I’ve never really understood the condition until my sister introduced me to this book earlier this year. It’s not an easy read so it’s a dip-in and out kind of book but it’s certainly taught me a lot in the last few months and I’ve been making some pretty significant lifestyle changes as a result. If you’re a PCOS sufferer, then you MUST read this book.

And that’s me done for this year (just about – I’ve still got 2 more to get through to hit my target!). What about you? Did you set a target this year? How are you getting on with it? And what’s been your favourite read of the year?